Playing with a new lease on life due to Adrian Mannarino’s unfortunate, match-ending spill on Tuesday, Roger Federer finds himself playing a true contemporary in Richard Gasquet. The two talented shotmakers have faced off 18 times dating back to their first meeting—won by the Frenchman—at the 2005 Monte Carlo Masters. Since then, it’s been all Federer: his record is a comical 18-2. The slicker the surface, the better for Federer, as the Swiss has only lost to Gasquet on clay.

Put bluntly, the eight-time Wimbledon champ did not look very good against Mannarino on Tuesday. But with a player as resilient as Federer, one has to think he’ll turn things around on his favorite surface. Mannarino keeps the ball extremely low, and utilizes sharp angles to stretch his opponents far off the court. That combination proved difficult for Federer, who was neither moving nor striking the ball particularly well.

But Gasquet, who owns a combined 3-48 record against the Big Three, hits the ball with much more spin and margin than Mannarino. This should allow Federer more time to set his feet, as well as more balls in his strike zone. At 39 years old, the less Federer has to bend down, the better.

Gasquet’s backhand is an incredible shot, but it often lands short in the court, and should sit up in Federer’s strike zone. 


According to Draftkings Sportsbook, the Swiss is a heavy -455 favorite and projected to win by 5.5 games. Perhaps Fed’s poor form resulted in this attackable line, as he was a 6.5-game favorite against Mannarino, who is a much better grass-court player than Gasquet at this stage in his career.

There’s no sense dragging this on, as the 18-2 record speaks for itself. Federer knows this is one of his last chances to succeed at a major, and I expect him to capitalize on his second chance at SW19.

The Pick: Federer -5.5 games